College Football Playoff averaged 22.2 million viewers on ESPN
January 11, 2017 9:54 AM
by Robert Mann
Bloomberg reports the three games that made up this year’s College Football Playoff averaged 22.2 million viewers on ESPN’s main cable and streaming networks, a 9 percent improvement over last year’s ratings, which suffered because the semifinals started at 4 p.m. on the East Coast on New Year’s Eve, a Thursday. In the first year of playoff games in 2015, 28 million watched the semi-final games played on New Year’s Day.
More than 26 million people watched Clemson beat Alabama for the 2016 college football championship. That’s a 2.6 percent drop compared with last year’s title game between the same two teams.
Semi-final games will return to New Year’s Day next season.
With ratings down slightly for the title game but up 15 percent for the seven college bowl games, college football is in contrast to the National Football League. NFL ratings fell in the beginning of the season, but rebounded after the presidential election. Bloomberg says NBC and Fox have recovered, but the audience for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” has continued to decline.